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Program Description

The Chinese language (Mandarin) has been defined as one of the "critical" or "strategic" languages by the U.S. government after 9/11. The increasing demand world-wide for proficiency in Mandarin in many different fields shows the importance of this language. International business with China continues to grow quickly. In addition to many different types of careers in the business world, knowledge of Mandarin is increasingly important for many other careers around the world, including translator/interpreter, intelligence and information analysis for the government and armed forces, customs/immigration officer, diplomat/foreign services personnel, language instructor and travel agent. Students in OU's Chinese program not only gain important skills in the four aspects of the language: listening, speaking, reading and writing, but they also get insight into and understanding of the country, culture, people and society through literature and culture courses, as well as study abroad programs.

Many students in the Modern Languages Department choose to study abroad and OU has one of the best study-abroad programs in the country. Students can choose from a wide variety of programs lasting from a few weeks to an academic year. While immersing themselves in a foreign country, students have the opportunity to receive an even better understanding of the culture than they receive in the classroom. Studying in a foreign country also solidifies a student's fluency in a language.

OU has taught Chinese for 30 years. The Chinese minor was added in 2000 and the Chinese major was implemented in 2005. Professors in the program have shown outstanding achievement in research and excellence in teaching. Through the years, they have won various prestigious university awards. Instructors are devoted and have rich teaching experience. They are always ready to help students.

Students during a lecture in a class

Degree Options

Students majoring in Chinese graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree. A student can then choose to pursue a Master of Arts, Master of Arts/Master of Business Administration or Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Interests & Skills

Students majoring in Chinese typically have interests in cultures and are eager to gain an understanding of how people understand and experience the world. Many students also enjoy traveling and are able to easily adapt to different experiences. High school preparation should, but is not required to, include study of foreign languages and cultures.

Notable Achievements

Faculty members in the Chinese program have won prestigious university awards for their teaching accomplishments. Modern Language faculty members have also been recognized with the Fulbright Fellowship. In 2005, faculty members in the department published eight books and numerous journal articles. Three of these publications have since won awards.

Several graduates of the program are getting ready to join the foreign service, and many others are working in various fields in China.

OU is also home to the literary magazine World Literature Today, and students have the opportunity to meet with writers from China, such as Mai Mang and the 2010 winner, Duo Duo.

Your Future

Types of Employers

  • Universities
  • Government agencies
  • Media
  • Museums
  • International corporations

Recent Graduates Jobs

  • Language teacher
  • Museum curator
  • Interpreter
  • Communications officer
  • Flight attendant
  • Travel agent

Experienced Alumni Jobs

  • Immigration/customs officer
  • Diplomatic services officer
  • Import/export broker
  • Social services worker
  • Translator

How much will I make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

Contact Us

Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences The University of Oklahoma

OU Modern Language Department
Phone: (405) 325-5895